Gainesville Daily Register

November 7, 2012

Fire rehab team plans fundraiser for Pilot Point student

By DELANIA TRIGG, Register Staff Writer
Gainesville Daily Register

Valley View — An area first responder organization hopes to make life easier for a Pilot Point girl facing surgery to repair facial damage from a dog bite.

Cooke County Fire Support and Rehab team will host a chili dinner fundraiser from 4 to 7 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 17 to help Hope Bartram and her family pay for expenses related to Hope’s medical treatment.

Hope, 8, had just returned from a trip with her family when a relative’s German Shepherd knocked her down and began brutally biting the right side of her face.  

Hope’s mother, Toni Bartram, said Hope didn’t cry and was sad when she found out the dog, Champ, was euthanized after the attack.

“She’s one strong little girl,” Bartram said. “I know I would be whining and crying.”

Both Hope’s parents are first responders, and Bartram said her ability to think clearly under stress helped her call for assistance for her daughter.

“Because of my first responder training I was calm,” Bartram said. “Her dad was singing to Hope to distract her.”

Hope has undergone one surgery since the Sept. 1 dog bite. Her mother said more procedures are required to help cover damaged areas and to help repair Hope’s lip.

The incident changed Hope’s appearance but Bartram said the trauma hasn’t affected her positive attitude.

“She doesn’t mind talking about what happened,” Bartram said. “She isn’t bitter about it.”

She said her daughter receives encouragement from her cousin and best friend, Maddie Voelkel — a Valley View Elementary School student who has also faced surgical procedures to repair her face.

Maddie was born with melanocytic nevus — a condition in which a part of the body is covered with a lesion made up of melanin-producing cells clumped together.

In Maddie’s case, the nevus covered part of her face including her lip.

Hope’s benefit event will include a silent auction and will be held at the First Baptist Church Reach Out Center at 503 N. Lee St. in Valley View.

Donations can also be made at First State Bank.